Fri Jan 19 2007 Fighting for the Future of Afghanistan
In recent months, the escalating violence in Afghanistan has begun creeping back into the headlines. Most of the stories have focused on the resurgence of the Taliban and the accompanying suicide bombings, assassinations of Afghan politicians, and deaths of US and NATO soldiers. Much of the blame has been placed on insufficient coalition troop levels, the under-paid and under-trained Afghan National Army, and anger in the Muslim world regarding Iraq. Unfortunately, the gross mismanagement, epidemic corruption, and massive failures of the US-led reconstruction of Afghanistan have been mostly ignored.
In her recent 30-page Corpwatch investigative report, "Afghanistan Inc.", Fariba Nawa proves that "war profiteering" is an accurate term to describe the behavior of many of the corporations contracted with rebuilding her home country. Fariba's family fled Afghanistan to settle in Fremont, CA's "Little Kabul" neighborhood in 1980's, but she moved back to the real Kabul in 2004 to report on the reconstruction and Afghanistan's booming opium trade. Although "Afghanistan Inc." details the facts and figures of corporate corruption, it also tells the Afghan people's hope and eventual disappointment. According to Fariba, the vast majority of the Afghans were overjoyed with the prospects of peace and prosperity following the US's ouster of the violent, repressive Taliban. In the five years since, the continuing lack of power and water, crumbling roads and buildings, and lack of new schools and health facilities has transformed much of this gratitude into aggravated cynicism and even hostility. A few days after 9/11 (2006), Liam O'Donoghue of Faultlines spoke with Fariba about life in Kabul, the Taliban, and her predictions for the future of her war-torn homeland.
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